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“Promoting Health through Physical Activity”

A new year, new president, and new economic challenges are upon us.  I am not sure what this means for physical activity (PA) research and practice.  I imagine we’ll experience both gains and losses as the future unfolds.  However, we have a very strong foundation from which to build, and momentum on our side as evidenced by the recent release of the new PA Guidelines and the soon-to-be National PA Plan.  The USC PRC hopes you will find success this year despite the barriers we face, and we promise to continue providing you with the most up-to-date information to assist you in your endeavors.

Steve Hooker, PhD, Director


NEWS YOU CAN USE: Safety Fact Sheet Available; Have an Active Winter; Sustainable Sites Initiative; Annual Healthy Weight Week; Trails Advocacy Week

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON: Bicycle Commuter Tax Provision; Cyclists Fare Well In November Elections

RESEARCH NOTES: Active Transportation and Obesity Rates; Population-Wide Strategies To Promote Physical Activity; Food And Physical Activity

REPORTS, SURVEYS, GUIDELINES, RESOURCES: Checklist for Safe Playgrounds; NCOA Issue Briefs; Active Living Videos; Program Gets Kids on Feet; E-Newsletter From Nia

PROMOTING ACTIVE COMMUNITIES: Physical Activity and Communities; New Bike Parking Ordinances Proposed In NYC; Los Angeles County Launches Youtube Channels

SCHOOLS: Oberstar Award

UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS: 2nd Safe Routes To School National Conference; 3rd International Congress On Physical Activity And Public Health; 2009 National Bike Summit; Active Living Research Annual Conference

USC PEVENTION RESEARCH CENTER UPDATES:Utilization and Physical Activity Levels at Renovated and Unrenovated School Playgrounds


SAFETY FACT SHEET AVAILABLE. An updated safety fact sheet is now available to download and distribute.  Use it at public meetings to share with elected officials, and spread the word on how complete streets improve safety for everyone. Other fact sheets are also offered at http://www.completestreets.org/benefits.html. [Source: Complete the Streets News, December 2008]

HAVE AN ACTIVE WINTER. Stay warm, safe, and fit despite the winter chill. Colder weather and fewer hours of daylight can make it challenging to get regular physical activity. Regular activity is just as important to your good health during these months as it is during the rest of the year. If the weather's too bad for outdoor activities, look for indoor opportunities. Visit http://www.catchinfo.org/archive1203.asp for some excellent suggestions from the CDC. [Source: CATCH Newsletter-December 2008, Vol 3 Issue 3]

SUSTAINABLE SITES INITIATIVE (SSI). SSI (an effort to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices), invites public comment on a new report titled Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks Draft 2008, the most comprehensive set of national guidelines yet developed for the sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of landscapes. The report is available at www.sustainablesites.org and an online feedback form has been created for users to help improve the guidelines. [Source: National Parks and Recreation Weekly News Brief, November 11, 2008]

ANNUAL HEALTHY WEIGHT WEEK. January 18-24, 2009 (third week), http://www.healthyweight.net/hww.htm

TRAILS ADVOCACY WEEK. February 12-15, 2009, http://www.americanhiking.org/events/ntd/

For a list of PA related observances and events, visit the PA links section of our website at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/PAlinks/index.htm.

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BICYCLE COMMUTER TAX PROVISION: Effective January 1, 2009, cyclists are on the same footing as people who get tax breaks for parking fees or for commuting by public transit. Bicycle commuters can now deduct $20 pretax per month from their paychecks to cover bicycling-related expenses. Employers also receive tax benefits: they won’t pay payroll taxes on the pre-tax funds deducted from employees' paychecks. The League of American Bicyclists is taking the lead to obtain guidance that employers can use to set up their programs. Visit their FAQ web page at http://www.bikeleague.org/news/100708faq.php.

CYCLISTS FARE WELL IN NOVEMBER ELECTIONS: Many key congressional supporters are returning in the 111th Congress. Key bike caucus members were re-elected by strong margins, such as Representatives Oberstar (D-MN) with 68 percent, Blumenauer (D-OR) with 75 percent, Petri (R-WI) with 64 percent. On the Senate side, Senators, Collins (R-ME) with 69 percent, Durbin (D-IL) with 67 percent, Mark Udall (D-CO) with 52 percent and Tom Udall (D-NM) with 61 percent. To read more about how the Bike Caucus did in the elections visit http://www.bikeleague.org/news/111408adv.php. [American Bicyclist Update, November 24, 2008]

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ACTIVE TRANSPORATION AND OBESITY RATES. Surveys of travel behavior and health indicators were conducted from 1994 to 2006 in Europe, North America, and Australia to examine the relationship between active transportation and obesity rates. Walking and bicycling are far more common in European countries than in the US, Australia, and Canada. Active transportation is inversely related to obesity in these countries. Although the results do not prove causality, they suggest that active transportation could be one factor that explains international differences in obesity rates. Bassett, Pucher, Buehler, et al. “Walking, cycling, and obesity rates in Europe, North America, and Australia.” Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 5(6):795-814, 2008.

POPULATION-WIDE STRATEGIES TO PROMOTE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. A lifetime cost-effectiveness analysis from a societal perspective was conducted to estimate the costs, health gains, and cost-effectiveness of seven public health interventions to promote physical activity in a simulated cohort of healthy U.S. adults stratified by age, gender, and physical activity level. Cost-effectiveness ratios ranged between $14,000 and $69,000 per quality adjusted life year gained, relative to no intervention. Results were sensitive to intervention-related costs and effect size. All of the evaluated physical activity interventions appeared to reduce disease incidence, to be cost-effective, and compared with other well-accepted preventive strategies, to offer good value for money. Roux, Pratt, Tengs, et al. “Cost effectiveness of community-based physical activity interventions.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 35(6):578-588, 2008

FOOD AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. This study examined the association between weight status and characteristics of food and physical activity environments among adults in rural U.S. communities.  Cross-sectional telephone survey data from 826 rural residents were used to examine the association between obesity and perceived access to produce and low-fat foods, frequency and location of food shopping and restaurant dining, and environmental factors that support physical activity. Eating out frequently, specifically at buffets, cafeterias, and fast food restaurants was associated with higher rates of obesity. Perceiving the community as unpleasant for physical activity was also associated with obesity. Casey, Elliott, Glanz, et al. “Impact of the food environment and physical activity environment on behaviors and weight status in rural U.S. communities.”  Preventive Medicine, 47(6): 600-604, 2008.

For additional summaries of recent research on promoting physically active lifestyles, visit the Research Updates section of our website at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/updates/index.htm.
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CHECKLIST FOR SAFE PLAYGROUNDS. NRPA’s National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI) has identified twelve of the leading causes of injuries on playgrounds, and published The Dirty Dozen - A Checklist for Safe Playgrounds. The Dirty Dozen Online Guide is now available for FREE and is an excellent service to share with employees and park advocates, parents, educators and the general public. To access the Dirty Dozen Online Guide visit http://www.pyxislearningcenter.org/DirtyDozen/DirtyDozen.html. [NRPA Weekly, December 16, 2009]

NCOA ISSUE BRIEFS. National Council on Aging (NCOA) Healthy Aging Community offers professionals and consumers a myriad of resources related to healthy aging, including a comprehensive series of issue briefs that can be downloaded for free at http://www.healthyagingprograms.com/content.asp?sectionid=73. Briefs include:
• Designing Safe and Effective Physical Activity Programs
• Keeping Current on Research and Practice in Physical Activity for Older Adults
• Maintaining Participation of Older Adults in Community-Based PA Programs
• Motivating Participants to Be More Physically Active
• Recruiting Older Adults into Your Physical Activity Programs
[Source: Active for Life e-Newsletter, December 2008]

Active Living Videos. The Active Living Resource Center offers free downloadable videos on community assessment, safe routes to school, and barriers to walking. These can be used to assist in public awareness programs, as well as to educate community leaders. Please go to http://www.activelivingresources.org/videolibrary.php. [Source: Active for Life e-Newsletter, December 2008]

PROGRAM GETS KIDS ON FEET. GO FAR, an acronym for Go Out For A Run, a 10-week fitness and nutrition program, teaches elementary school students about healthy eating, physical activity and self-discipline while they train for the culmination of the program, a 5K race. The goal, though, is not so much to get the kids running, but to get them active, so speed-walking is encouraged for those who don't want to run. Read more about the program at http://www.gofarclub.org/news.php. [Source: Parks and Recreation Weekly Newsletter, December 2, 2008; originally published by the (South Carolina) Georgetown Times on 11/30/2008

E-NEWSLETTER FROM NIA. Spotlight on Aging Research (SOAR): News and Notes from the National Institute on Aging offers the research community, aging services providers, health care professionals, policy makers, media, and others information about National Institute on Aging programs, people, and achievements. Subscription to the electronic publication is free at http://list.niapublications.org/niaalert/lists/?p=subscribe&id=4. [Source: Active for Life E-Newsletter, December 2008]

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PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND COMMUNITIES: The New South Wales Premier’s Council for Active Living (PCAL) in Australia has published two resource guides focusing on physical activity and communities. The Council has developed Building stronger communities through physical activity: a practitioner’s resource to help practitioners plan, implement, and evaluate physical activity programs that build social capital in communities.  A related document, Guidelines for the use of physical activity for community development purposes: Final report, is also available at http://www.centre4activeliving.ca/library/roundup/2008/12/december-11-2008.html under “Community,” [Source: AusPAnet News, December 19, 2008]

NEW BIKE PARKING ORDINANCES PROPOSED IN NEW YORK CITY. A new initiative has been proposed to require secure parking for bicycles in new multi-family residential, commercial, and institutional buildings throughout the city. It is designed to encourage bicycle ridership by providing a long-term and secure place to store bikes at home and at work. Recent studies have found that the lack of safe and secure bicycle parking is a leading factor preventing people from cycling to work. Read more at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/about/pr111008.shtml.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY LAUNCHES YOUTUBE CHANNELS. The County of Los Angeles, Department of Parks and Recreation recently launched its own YouTube channel to share information and create a digital media initiative. It will showcase original videos produced by the department, including PSAs, park tours, interviews, and closer looks at the department’s facilities, and programs. The first video posted is the Stop and Smell the Flowers PSA, which is part of the Play for Life! public information and social marketing campaign. The channel can be visited at http://www.youtube.com/lacountyparks. [Source: National Parks and Recreation Newsbrief, January 6, 2009

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OBERSTAR AWARD. The National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) announced that Bear Creek Elementary School in Boulder, CO, has received the 2008 James L. Oberstar Award. Bear Creek’s program involves 70 percent of students in walking and bicycling activities throughout the year. This award recognizes outstanding achievement by a school or community in establishing a SRTS program, and is given annually by the National Center for SRTS to an exemplary SRTS. See the entire case study on Bear Creek Elementary School at http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/case_studies/pdfs/CO.bearcreek.pdf. [Source: E-Newsletter of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, November/December 2008]

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2ND SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL NATIONAL CONFERENCE:  At the Hilton Portland, Portland, Oregon August 19-21, 2009. Learn how Safe Routes to School programs across the country are changing the habits of an entire generation of schoolchildren and putting thousands of families two steps ahead of health and environmental concerns, For registration info, visit www.saferoutesconference.org.

3RD INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH. Toronto, Canada. May 5-8, 2010. Program Committee has selected “Mobilizing Research for Global Action in Policy and Practice” as the major title for the Congress. The title highlights the major goal of the Congress to provide leading edge research as the foundation for the development of future physical activity policies and programs. For more information on this conference visit http://www.cflri.ca/icpaph/.

2009 NATIONAL BIKE SUMMIT. Be a part of the smart transportation movement and help build bicycling into the transportation bill this March. Join fellow advocates, industry leaders, and retailers as we speak to the new Congress and Administration. Washington, D.C., March 10-12, 2009. All events take place at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center, except Thursday's meetings and reception, both of which are on Capitol Hill. For more information and to register go to http://www.bikeleague.org/conferences/summit09/index.php.

ACTIVE LIVING RESEARCH ANNUAL CONFERENCE. The sixth Active Living Research Annual Conference is being held February 18 - 20, 2009 in downtown San Diego, CA. The theme for the 2009 conference is Active Communities for Youth and Families: Creating Momentum for Change.  The conference agenda contains a variety of breakfast roundtable discussions, keynote speaker, plenary and concurrent presentations, as well as panel presentations. For more information and to register for the conference go to http://activelivingresearch.org/conference/2009.


UTILIZATION AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LEVELS AT RENOVATED AND UNRENOVATED SCHOOL PLAYGROUNDS. This recently published article by Dr. Natalie Colabianchi et al was featured in the Australian Physical Activity Network’s weekly e-newsletter (AuaPAnet) on December 5, 2008. Dr. Colabianchi, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Carolina, is a Co-Investigator with the USC Prevention Research Center. Colabianchi,,Kinsella, Coulton & Moore. Utilization and physical activity levels at renovated and unrenovated school playgrounds.Preventive Medicine. Available online 11/14/ 2008. (doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.11.005).

For a more complete list of conferences and workshops, visit the PA links section of our website at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/PAlinks/index.htm.

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Writers: Marsha Stepp, Jorge Banda, Catherine Carlstedt

This and past issues of the “University of South Carolina Prevention Research Center Notes” are available on our website at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/Newsletter/index.htm.

To submit an item, please e-mail Marsha Stepp at mstepp@mailbox.sc.edu.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, e-mail the Prevention Research Center at USCPRC@mailbox.sc.edu. When subscribing, please include your name, e-mail address, title, and organizational affiliation. There is no subscription cost. If you have an e-mail filter in place that only allows messages from approved email addresses, please add uscprc@gwm.sc.edu to your approved list.

For continuing discussions about physical activity, join the Physical Activity and Public Health On-Line Network listserv. Instructions are located on our website, at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/newsletter/commands.htm.

The USC Prevention Research Center is a member of the CDC Prevention Research Center's National Network, consisting of 33 Centers in the U.S. For more information about the PRC National Network, visit http://www.cdc.gov/prc.

Prevention Research Center
Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina
921 Assembly Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29208

This publication was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 5-U48-DP-000051 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status.



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